Variations On A Common Theme


An American woman of circa 1920 dressed to do ...
An American woman of circa 1920 dressed to do housework, wearing a “Dutch cap” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That would be the common theme.

Housework is the one thing I find myself stuck on on a daily basis. I try to stay caught up, but our fast-paced lifestyle or my depression or the kids’ curiosity often leads to disaster. Still, I pride myself in doing the best I can when I can. I hate when others, knowing nothing of the whole situation, what we’ve been through, what we’ve had to put up with, what we’ve already accomplished, come along and criticize what they see.

My dryer was broken and that prompted people to assume I was deliberately sending my kids to school in wet clothing to torment them or something; I just couldn’t afford the repairs. Thankfully, a man volunteered his services to repair the machine and it is functioning properly now. One crisis averted.

My children are loved and cared for. Maybe I don’t always do the right thing, but I try my best. As a mother, that Is all I can do. I cannot stand others looking at what I’m doing and judging who I am as a person and as a mother based on one slice of my life. It would be like looking at a photograph and assuming you knew the entire family and their dealings from that one still life.

So, yet again, I find myself stressing over things which are beyond my control as I try to be perfect in every aspect of my life to please others. Yet again, I’ve got housework, homework, and career work piling up around me, because I cannot devote attentions to all things equally at once. Maybe some women are meant to be a home mom or a career mom or a career at home mom…I’m kind of all three.

I try, and I wish everyone could see that. I washed and dried three loads of laundry today. Where are the applause? I washed a load of dishes and cleaned the kitchen sink and counter today. Where is the fanfare? I hugged, kissed, cuddled, cleaned, and fed three wonderful children today. Who’s throwing me a celebratory dinner? I didn’t lie down and die today. Who’s in my cheer section? But I guess that’s just daily life.

It isn’t easy surviving abuse and a broken family while dealing with bipolar disorder and a competitive job market, although, to be fair, I have surprisingly little workplace stress. When I was a kid, I was told I had attention deficit disorder and clinical depression and my baby brother had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I have relatives with major depressive disorder, mood disorders, passive aggressive behavior, special needs, and other abnormal psychology. I suspect any student of clinical psychology would have a field day at my family reunion if I invited everyone on both parents’ sides to the highest living generation and the lowest birthed generation.

Or maybe we’re all perfectly normal? Maybe there’s no reason to think that my maternal ancestors and paternal ancestors passed down mental health cocktails in their epigenetics. Maybe some of us just happen to have poor health habits and some of us could do better if we tried and some of us are victims of circumstance and none of it has anything to do with ancestry. Maybe some people need drugs for pain management and others need religion and others need a sympathetic ear. Maybe suicidal thoughts are a side effect of too much Western life, but fear not, friends and fowl, for I’ve no desire to off the Ashley.

Today, I took my daily dose of humility, didn’t I? I’m working hard at becoming skilled in conflict resolution. I haven’t developed any eating disorders or other addictions which pepper my family history. I could have much worse mental health issues or mental health problems, but I’m getting counseling for my mental health. I’m learning how to have self esteem, learning stress management techniques, and actually am walking enough at work that I may get to a healthy weight.

I don’t need to go to a depression treatment center for major depression or take anger management classes, but it wouldn’t hurt for me to get assertiveness training. On Sundays, when I can muster up the energy and gasoline, I’ve been taking a dose of Jesus Christ, soaking up divine power in praise and worship sessions. I’ve been trying to turn my life around. I’ve been working on stress reduction, healthy food choices, healthy habits, and finding personal space to meditate. Physical health may have mental health benefits. It isn’t easy, though.


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3 thoughts on “Variations On A Common Theme

  1. I, for one, am very proud of you for not throwing in the towel when you so easily could have many times. I had only one child to try and sort life out with during crazy times; I can’t imagine juggling three. It’s never going to be easy, unfortunately. But hopefully it will get better. Somewhere along the way, I hope that the four of you will find a groove and enjoy Life more often without its evil twin, Stress.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and insight. I understand that you, too, have had more than your fair share of WTF moments in life. 🙂

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